Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mud Splatchers and Sounding Canes

The Essex Boat Jumble, held at Ardleigh Showground, Old Ipswich Rd took place last weekend. Everyone was worried about the weather, having had so much rain previously, and hoped it wouldn't be cancelled due to a washout. Hats off to the organisers of the event; Chaddock and Fox Promotions, it must be nightmare having to cancel something like this, being booked so far in advance, specially as they need so many staff for the event run smoothly.
 Creeky Dave took a stall and let me cadge floor space and table corner beside a few thumbed nautical tomes that were going for a song. What bargains you lovely people had.

My line of custom made sounding canes. Orders are now being taken
 I took along a few pieces of custom made East Coast kit - rare as hens teeth - that I let go at bargain basement prices too, to a few non-suspecting boaters. My line of splatchers were popular, and I received many jovial remarks about them.  A few folk even went as far as parting with their boaty cash to be adorned in a pair. It was smiles all round. The 'Creeksailor' sounding canes drew much interest as well with folk intrigued to learn I have a custom made version for each river on the East Coast. You can buy bean sticks anywhere but not like these. These are authentic custom made Creeksailor specials, and I can hand craft a stick or splatcher for any creek or river. Give it some stick...
This is the list of canes that were for sale on the day.
Blackwater Special, Mk I Crouch, Swale Stick 6', Orwell 8', Stour 6', Deben, Ore - Alde Mk IIs,
Mk II Rays'n, Neap-Tider 4' special, Thames Max 8', Roach 6', Colnesider's 6', Mk II Medway,
Walton Poker 6', Butley Wand 6', Spitway Jab, Low-Tide Frenzy.

Splatchers were used by winkle pickers. I always carry a pair on board
PS. I'm producing a new line of 'hand' splatchers, for when you fall flat on your face in mud while wearing splatchers!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Burning Desire

One way to end a day's sailing is to sit quietly at anchor and absorb the new surroundings. Here, in this image, we are just below Wallasea Jetty, swamped and in our element; the low coast. It is time for reflecting on a passage accomplished - to watch as every drop of sun burns away the last of one’s desire...
 A little further inland, one tack with a favourable wind, sea winds still echo along the grassy banks of the Crouch. They climb the great clumps of land that rise up, and are swept along its grassy belts. If ever there was a "land of the giants" the hills there, and those that rise from every estuary up to Suffolk, would have been their stepping stones...

Saturday, 8 February 2014


Perhaps the most versatile piece of kit carried on board Shoal Waters, and my punts and dinghies, is the the sounding cane.  It is positively the most used, and relied on tool, as well. Costs for this vital creek sailing aid do vary of course, depending on where you make your purchase. e.g. I ventured into an upmarket garden center and spied the 8' version, stacked upright beside the tomato plants, costing a balaclava clad £1.00 each; while just down the road, they cant give them away quick enough, at 50p each. The 6' version comes in bundles of 10 and can be bought at a very charitable 2 or 3 quid. This equates to 20p or 30p each. When you consider the amount of usage on board, how relied on this tool is; and how naked a skipper suddenly feels when his last one rolls off the coach roof during a hectic "lee ho," then prices like these, for "yachting" equipment, are almost unheard of in the modern world of boating. A boat that floats might do well to carry some stick...